Congratulations go to Carla Zampatti, who was awarded the Australian Fashion Laureate this afternoon in Sydney.
In the wake of the demise of the FIA Awards, the Fashion Laureate is being touted as the highest Australian fashion accolade.
The award is a year-old joint initiative between the NSW government and IMG FASHION Asia Pacific - the latter which operates essentially as a defacto Australian Fashion Council.
According to the NSW Department of State and Regional Development:
“To be eligible, a candidate's body of work must have been carried out in Australia, must have global reach, must align with high ethical standards, and must link fashion to business”.
Sadly I could not make today's presentation.
I was however interested to read an AAP report of Zampatti's acceptance speech, in which she made reference to both IMG FASHION Asia Pacific managing director Simon Lock and Australian Fashion Week, the event Lock's Australian Fashion Innovators company founded in May 1996.
Zampatti is quoted as saying:
"We came of age with fashion week. We are now on the international calendar. Lock deserves all the accolades from the industry for achieving this."
It was an interesting comment, given that as far as I can recall, Zampatti only ever graced the Australian Fashion Week runway on one occasion.
From the outset of the event, Lock and co had always seemed quite focussed on targetting the new, younger, export-driven fashion guard which had emerged in Australia from the mid 1980s onwards.
Carla Zampatti is undoubtedly an icon of the Australian fashion industry.
After migrating from Italy with her family in 1950, she launched her fashion business at the age of 23 and in 2005 celebrated the fashion milestone of 40 years in business.
Zampatti quit wholesaling in 1990 to focus on a vertical operation. The company's website lists some 18 Carla Zampatti stores within Australia.
Zampatti is no stranger to accolades, having been made a Member of the Order of Australia for her services to the fashion industry and a Commander of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic.
Zampatti is also a recipient of the Centenary Medal, the Chair of Australian multicultural broadcaster SBS, a director of Westfield Group, a trustee of the Sydney Theatre Company Foundation Trust, a member of the Development Committee of the Sydney Theatre Company and a board member of the Australian Multicultural Foundation.
But does she export and/or do her fashion endeavours have anything remotely approaching a global reach?